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Mar 20, 2023
Ukraine Latest: Xi Begins Russia Trip; EU to Discuss Ammunition
(Bloomberg) -- The US announced that it will send $350 million in ammunition, river boats and other equipment for Ukraine’s military, while the European Union agreed on plans to jointly procure 1 million rounds to support Kyiv.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Moscow that he and Vladimir Putin will forge a “blueprint for China-Russia strategic coordination,” and the Russian leader praised Beijing’s peace proposals, which have been rejected by Ukraine’s allies.
Xi’s trip to Moscow marks his most ambitious effort yet to weigh in on Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II, and will be followed by his first conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since Russia invaded more than a year ago. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the “world should not be fooled” by a potential Chinese-Russian peace plan that would “freeze” in place territory seized by Russian forces.
- Japan Leader Kishida to Visit Ukraine on Tuesday, NHK Says
- Putin Tells Xi He’ll Discuss China’s Blueprint for Ukraine
- China’s Russian Energy Imports Balloon to $88 Billion Since War
- US Plans $350 Million Ukraine Aid as Ammunition Stocks Dwindle
- G-7 Set to Hold Off Revising Russian Oil Price Cap This Week
(All times CET)
Kishida Will Visit Ukraine, Japanese Network Reports (4:05 a.m.)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will make a trip to Ukraine on Tuesday, national public broadcaster NHK reported.
Kishida will become the last leader from a Group of Seven leading democracy to visit the country since Russia’s full-scale invasion about a year ago.
Blinken Warns of Xi-Putin Gambit to ‘Freeze’ Russian Gains (6:01 p.m.)
“The fundamental element of any plan for ending the war in Ukraine and producing a just and durable peace must be upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Blinken, the top US diplomat, said, as Putin welcomed Xi for a three-day visit to Moscow that underscores Beijing’s support.
Putin expressed his willingness to discuss China’s blueprint for ending the war in Ukraine, but Blinken said any plan that doesn’t restore territory seized by Russia is “a stalling tactic at best.”
Ukraine Prosecutor, EU Official Discuss Putin Arrest Warrant (5:45 p.m.)
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin met with EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders in London to discuss next steps after the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova.
Kostin and Reynders called the move a historic decision for Ukraine and for the EU, according to the website of the prosecutor-general’s Office.
US Announces $350 Million in Ammunition and Supplies for Ukraine
The US announced $350 million in ammunition, river boats and other equipment for Ukraine’s military as part of a broader effort by the country’s allies to keep it from running out of artillery shells and missiles in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Among the supplies announced Monday was ammunition for HIMARS systems and howitzers, as well as for Bradley infantry vehicles, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. Anti-tank weapons are also being sent.
Putin Tells Xi He’ll Discuss China’s Peace Outline for Ukraine (3:45 p.m.)
Putin said that Russia is ready to discuss China’s peace proposals for Ukraine as he welcomed Xi.
“We’ve carefully studied your proposals to resolve the acute crisis in Ukraine,” Putin told Xi in televised comments at the start of their one-on-one talks in the Kremlin. He added that Russia views the Chinese initiative “with respect.”
Kyiv has been cool to Beijing’s vague peace outline, while the US and his allies have rejected it outright.
EU Backs Ammunition Plan (3:15 p.m.)
The EU’s top envoys agreed to a plan to back spending €1 billion ($1.1 billion) from its European Peace Facility for the bloc’s countries to jointly buy ammunition. They also backed spending another €1 billion from the same fund to reimburse what member states send from their own existing stockpiles of both modern and Soviet-era ammunition to Ukraine.
NATO Prioritizes Swedish Membership (3 p.m.)
It’s a “top priority” for NATO to see Sweden join the alliance in the near future, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, after the biggest Nordic country was left behind by the decision of Turkey and Hungary to soon ratify Finland’s entry into the bloc.
Finland’s membership is “not complete” without Sweden, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters alongside Stoltenberg in Brussels, and Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen pledged to work hard to get Sweden admitted.
G-7 Set to Hold Off Revising Russian Oil Price Cap (2:40 p.m.)
Group of Seven nations are unlikely to revise a price cap on Russian oil this week, despite initial evidence that crude is selling well below the current $60 threshold.
European Union member states were informed over the weekend by the bloc’s executive branch that there is little interest among the G-7 — in charge of setting and changing the price cap — to modify price levels at this stage, according to people familiar with the matter. Talks between the European Commission and the G-7 will likely continue beyond a summit of EU leaders taking place in Brussels this week, two of the people added.
Read more: G-7 Set to Hold Off Revising Russian Oil Price Cap This Week
Putin Confirms Black Sea Grain Export Deal Extension (2:36 p.m.)
Russia agreed to extend the Black Sea grain deal in order to meet the needs of African countries, Putin said at a forum of African lawmakers in Moscow.
“We insist on the package nature of this deal, primarily in the interests of African and other developing countries, bearing in mind that they need large amounts of food,” the Russian leader said. “And we insist on full compliance with key Russian requirements.”
Ukraine’s Energoatom Reaches Deal With Cameco on Uranium (1:05 p.m.)
Ukrainian nuclear regulator Energoatom and Canada’s Cameco Corp. reached an agreement on the supply of natural uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, to meet Ukraine’s nuclear fuel needs through 2035, the country’s Energy Ministry said.
“The nuclear industry is of strategic importance for Ukraine, and we are ready to develop and support our cooperation with Canada in this area,” Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said.
Lithuania Calls for Faster Delivery of Ammo to Kyiv (11:59 a.m.)
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters he hoped European industry could meet the target of producing 1 million shells over the next 12 months to send to Ukraine, adding that “speed is of the essence.”
Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he hoped the ministers would finish the agreement today, adding “otherwise we’ll be in difficulties to continue supplying arms to Ukraine.” He added that 15 member states have already joined a European Defense Agency project to procure ammunition for Ukraine.
Xi Arrives in Moscow, Giving Putin a Boost (11:59 a.m.)
Putin will give a detailed account of his view of the year-old invasion and discuss China’s 12-point proposal for resolving it, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Tass. The presidents are scheduled to hold one-on-one talks followed by an “informal” dinner Monday, with more negotiations and state dinner set for Tuesday, according to the Kremlin.
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